Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Day in the (trail) Life…

sgt_pepper_coverWoke up, fell out of bed

Dragged a comb across my head

Found my way downstairs and drank a cup

And looking up, I noticed I was late

Found my coat and grabbed my hat

Made the bus in seconds flat

Found my way upstairs and had a smoke And somebody spoke and I went into a dream

– A Day in the Life, by The Beatles

Yesterday I was driving home on the freeway listening to the Beatles album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Often while driving I multi-task; paying attention to the task of vehicle operational control, while letting my mind drift and solving many of life’s complex mysteries and problems. Reflecting on the lyrics of A Day in the Life, I started to think about a typical day on the trail.

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The Search for the Holy Grail: Waterproof Breathable Rain Gear

Some thoughts on rain gear…

There is no perfect rain gear. 

What works for me may not work for others. Of utmost importance is the fact that each of us have a different physiology, hike at different speeds; and each trip varies in weather, temperature, and terrain. Each of these variables contribute different kinds of rain gear solutions. Like so much other backpacking gear, the hiker will need to learn from experience what works best for them. You won’t learn it here, or anywhere on the Internet, or in a book.

So I decided to share what I have learned over the years — what has worked and what has not worked. Your experience may be different.

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Lightweight Backpacking: The Way, and the Truth, and the Life


There are quite a few things in life that irritate me. The top of my list includes:

  • religious people who knock on my door telling me I will burn in Hell if I don’t accept their religion
  • Prius owners who accost me in gas stations and condemn me for damaging the planet with my SUV
  • petition gatherers who want to deny property rights
  • New York Mayor Bloomberg who thinks I am too stupid to take care of myself because I like to drink Venti Frappacinios
  • politicians who want to pass all sorts of laws and ordinances because they think the populace doesn’t know what is best for them
  • and lightweight backpackers who evangelize to other backpackers they meet on the trail that their pack is too heavy.

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Avoiding the Pacific Crest Trail


SJ Aug 2013_ 15

In the summer I do a lot of hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail south of the San Jacinto Wilderness. Because it is hot this time of year and there is little water available, most hikers avoid this part of the trail. Since this area is usually 20 degree cooler than where I live, and there are few hikers, it is an excellent destination for me.

Unfortunately most of this section was burned in the San Jacinto Fire a couple weeks ago. Right now the PCT is closed from Highway 74 north, past the San Jacinto State Park Wilderness, a 50 mile long section of trail. From what I could see on this hike, and the fire I observed from my house a couple weeks ago, I would not be surprised if this section (or parts of it) are closed for several years.

SJ Aug 2013_ 13 Continue reading Avoiding the Pacific Crest Trail

Six Moon Designs Wild Oasis Shelter

Wild Oasis 12

A while back I posted about Dave Chenault’s Pyramid Shelter article. At that point it dawned on me that I have not discussed this shelter previously. The Wild Oasis seems to be a shelter that often gets little love. It has been around for quite a while; I bought mine in 2008. But I don’t see many people talking about it these days. I typically only used mine for those days when I expected a lot of flying insects. But since I decided to do a review, it occurred to me that I should use it more often.

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How to Start a Forest Fire


Okay, it is a pet peeve of mine.

“I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” - Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch, from the movie Network)
“I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take this anymore”
– Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch, from the movie Network)

Yesterday I was reading a review of a wood stove on a well known backpacking blog and I notice about 6 inches of leaves and brush have been cleared from around the base of the stove.

Only problem is, the flames from the stove extend a few inches above the pot, which is sitting on top of a wood burning inferno of a stove. The entire assembly height is at least twice the width of the cleared area. Knock the stove over and you have a forest fire.

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